20120925 Masterplanning – the alchemy of urban design

It is very often the case that we all have some idea of what needs to be done to fix urban issues but we have been schooled in the art of the possible – limited by what we know and affected by what we fear.

Masterplanning is the once-in-a-generation re imagining of the urban space to make the impossible seem possible and the possible achievable.

All it takes (and it is not exactly a small thing) is vision… Oh yes, and a wedge of cash!

But when it starts, a whole new energy is created and the community is able to come together to agree, disagree, put forward ideas, comment on others’ brainwaves, consider a few hairbrained scheme and put it all together in the glaring light of publicity to arrive at a democratically accountable masterplan with a vision, a clear set of priorities and an outline of the steps to make it deliverable.

What is clear is that towns and cities such as St Albans and Stratford upon Avon are already beginning to benefit from their masterplanning process and that towns like Guildford, with its traffic congestion and disconnected spaces and infrastructure, are starting to recognise that a masterplan could deliver solutions.

Guildford Vision Group is pressing the Local Authority to embrace a masterplanning exercise and have had excellent advice and support from Allies & Morrison who are holding a drop-in workshop at St Marys church in Quarry Street, off the High Street, from 11.00am to 1.00pm on Saturday 29th September at which everyone is welcome.

Allies & Morrison were responsible for masterplanning the Olympic Park and we all know how well that worked out. What we should all understand from that exercise is that masterplanning is not only worthwhile, it is also essential.

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